The horizontal impact (rotor) sprinkler was invented in 1933 by citrus
farmer Orton Englehardt. He later sold his patent to Clem and Mary LaFetra who
then marketed it under the brand name Rain Bird. So what today is commonly
known as a “rainbird” sprinkler is in actuality not its own type of
sprinkler, but simply an accepted name for an impact rotor sprinkler.
Rainbird sprinklers are known for their horizontal action
and up to 360 degree spin. The body (or just the nozzle) of the sprinkler is
moved in circles as it propels water by an arm that consistently impacts the
sprinkler body. Most of today’s impact sprinklers are gear-driven, meaning that
only the nozzle moves by way of a spring-loaded arm that is pushed back by the
water stream, thus turning the gears (and sprinkler) before springing back to
hit the water stream once more in an ongoing cycle.
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